Millennials and New Media Art in the Conceptual Age: Hong Kong’s K11 and Videotage co-present “One World Exposition 2.1: #like4like”

“#like4like”, a group exhibition by 10 millennial generation artists in Hong Kong, explores art and technology under the theme of “Me: Millennials”.

The new media exhibition at K11 showcases diversified art forms including 3D animation, kinetic art and video imaging by artists from Hong Kong and mainland China.

Sun Xun, ‘Magician Party and Dead Crow’ (video still), 2013, single channel 3D animation, 9min:43sec. Image courtesy the artist and K11.

Sun Xun, ‘Magician Party and Dead Crow’ (video still), 2013, single channel 3D animation, 9:43 min. Image courtesy the artist and K11.

To celebrate its Art Month 2017, K11 organised a series of exhibitions under the theme of “Me: Millennials”. They include Mobile Fawn, a large-scale sculpture with interactive digital garden by Dutch artist Faiyaz Jafri; a crowdsourcing public video art project by artist Silas Fong as Interview Service Provider to recruit stalkers and fans, a.k.a. STAN; Virtual Reality Special Exhibition by artist Feng Mengbo; and “One World Exposition 2.1: #like4like”, a new media exhibition held in collaboration with Videotage, a Hong Kong-based non-profit organisation founded in 1986 dedicated to new media art.

Click here to watch a trailer of “Me Millennials” at K11 on YouTube

“One World Exposition 2.1: #like4like” is the second edition of “One World Exposition” held in 2011. Earlier on, Art Radar reported on the previous edition, which was curated by Isaac Leung of Videotage and film curator Li Zhenhua to foster the interaction between Hong Kong and Mainland Chinese artists, particular Gen X artists. In the new edition this year, “#like4like” is curated by Isaac Leung and Kyle Chung of Videotage to explore Chinese media art from regional, national and global perspectives. Featuring 10 millennial (Gen Y) artists born in the 1980s and 1990s, the group exhibition “#like4like” is on view from 21 March to 21 May 2017.

Chen Wei,‘ Unprecedented Freedom’ (An Advertising Slogan), 2016, neon light installation with aluminium structure, 750 x 96 cm. Image courtesy the artist and K11.

Chen Wei, ‘Unprecedented Freedom’ (An Advertising Slogan), 2016, neon light installation with aluminium structure, 750 x 96 cm. Image courtesy the artist and K11.

Participating artists include:

  • Carla Chan (Hong Kong)
  • Chris Cheung (Hong Kong)
  • Tang Kwok Hin (Hong Kong)
  • Morgan Wong (Hong Kong)
  • Chen Tianzhuo (Mainland China)
  • Chen Wei (Mainland China)
  • Double Fly Art Center (Mainland China)
  • Hu Weiyi (Mainland China)
  • Lu Yang (Mainland China)
  • Sun Xun (Mainland China)
Double Fly Art Center, 'Imogine Lateotentare', 2010, 9 channel video installation. Image courtesy the artists and K11.

Double Fly Art Center, ‘Imogine Lateotentare’, 2010, 9 channel video installation. Image courtesy the artists and K11.

Millennials as tech-savvy entitled narcissist?

Millennials, which are featured on Time magazine’s cover page in 2013 are characterised as the “Me Me Me Generation”. They are labelled “lazy, entitled narcissists who still live with their parents”. The Hong Kong group show at K11, “#like4like”, whose titled is derived from popular social media terms, definitely epitomises such phenomenon in a form of self-reflexivity. On social media, hashtags are often used to indicate keywords or phrases to tag content of a similar theme. For instance, a new form of language is generated due to the influence of the Internet and trending topics, forming hashtags such as #stayclassy, #nofilter, #instagood, #NetflixAndChill and #EpicFail.

The show introduces whimsical ‘selfie spots’ to cater visitors’ needs to upload photos bombarded with hashtags on social media, such as Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter and Instagram. There are also plenty of QR codes in the show, as well as Snapchat spectacles, 3D glasses and a wall full of emojis and memes that acts as a poll to the question:

How long can you live without checking your phone?

Lu Yang, 'Hearse Delusional Mandala', 2015, artificial crystal. Image courtesy the artist and K11.

Lu Yang, ‘Hearse Delusional Mandala’, 2015, artificial crystal. Image courtesy the artist and K11.

In his curatorial statement, curator Isaac Leung states:

In China, the millennial generation emerged under a booming economy where new information, education opportunities, and technological knowledge are bountiful. These artists are vastly different from the generation before them: they are technologically savvy, open-minded, and committed to finding artistic languages that are different from the former artistic schemata – a discourse free from the rhetoric of the Cultural Revolution and Economic Reform. Unlike the former generation of artists, the millennials were born during a blooming of China’s art market. Many young artist have ridden China’s wave of economic progression, and yet, these artists also live in a time of uncertainty as former ways of life have been uprooted in pursuit of fast-paced modernization.

Chen Tianzhuo, ‘Yogamaya’, 2016, stainless steel titanium plating, spray paint, marble, wood and steel sculpture, 280 x 180 x 50 cm. Image courtesy the artist and K11.

Chen Tianzhuo, ‘Yogamaya’, 2016, stainless steel titanium plating, spray paint, marble, wood and steel sculpture, 280 x 180 x 50 cm. Image courtesy the artist and K11.

Wacky art in a wacky show

The interactive group show “#like4like” is laden with sarcastic humour – both satirical and self-deprecating – yet the artists explore serious contemporary social issues. Speaking about the selection of Mainland Chinese artists, the curator remarked that

when it comes to ‘mainland China’s wackiest artist’, Lu Yang definitely tops the list in his subversion of traditional Chinese taboos. Sun Xun was born in 1980 and thus, has the most experience in the group. We’ll be exhibiting a three-dimensional work of his. [His work in the show is best viewed with 3D glasses, which are available on site.] Chen Wei is known for his photography work, but we specially selected his neon light installation which was inspired by the name of a dance hall and which sparks the pertinent question on what ‘freedom’ means for this generation of artists. Chen Tianzhuo is another artist with an alternative style [which explores religion and politics in his video and performances filled with colourful, grotesque and kitsch imagery]. Double Fly Art Center is made up of nine male artists whose ‘whatever goes’ style is underpinned by a strong critical stance. Meanwhile, Hu Weiyi’s work responds to urban development in China.

Hu Weiyi,‘ Keep Crawling’ (video still), 2012, single channel video, 3min:21sec. Image courtesy the artist and K11.

Hu Weiyi,‘ Keep Crawling’ (video still), 2012, single channel video, 3:21 min. Image courtesy the artist and K11.

Another curator, Kyle Chung, commented on the works by Hong Kong artists displayed in the show:

The Hong Kong artists are less subdued in their subversiveness, for example, Tang Kowk Hin’s work is about obsessive compulsiveness. While appearing serene on the surface, Clara Chan’s work is about distorting perspectives. [Other Hong Kong artists in the show include Morgan Wong and Chris Cheung (h0nh1m)/ XCEED.]

Chris Cheung (h0nh1m) / XCEED, 'RadianceScape', 2016. Image courtesy the artist and K11.

Chris Cheung (h0nh1m) / XCEED, ‘RadianceScape’, 2016. Image courtesy the artist and K11.

Morgan Wong, 'Untitled' (Video still), 2010, single channel video, 5min:39sec. Image courtesy the artist and K11.

Morgan Wong, ‘Untitled’ (video still), 2010, single channel video, 5:39 min. Image courtesy the artist and K11.

Location, location, location

The exhibition venue, chi K11 art space (Hong Kong), is located in the basement of K11 Art Mall, which connects to the underground train station of Tsim Sha Tsui district at the heart of the city. Founded in 2008 by Adrian Cheng, K11 merges the concept of art and commerce to provide exposure of art to the masses – to educate the public about art appreciation while they shop and dine at the Art Malls in Hong Kong and mainland China. The interior and exterior of the venue, merely separated by transparent glass panels, allow passers-by and commuters to ‘window-shop’ and browse the show – and perhaps take a few selfies and send them to their friends on Whatsapp or WeChat!

Feng Mengbo, 'Q3DVR', 2017, computer, Oculus Rift VR installation. Image courtesy the artist and K11.

Feng Mengbo, ‘Q3DVR’, 2017, computer, Oculus Rift VR installation. Image courtesy the artist and K11.

Technology and art

Outside the entrance of the show, a virtual reality (VR) special exhibition featuring the videogame-inspired art by artist Feng Mengbo can be found. Viewers can wear the Oculus Rift VR headset and experience his work Q3DVR as 3D objects burst forth and characters fight each other. He set up a stage of unlimited time and damage in which the audience are in spectator mode. All characters are shown as the same naked girl, who always talks on an iPhone and uses a bunch of roses as her weapon. Dead bodies transform into giant roses, forming a spectacle.

Following the “#like4like” exhibition, a sequel named “One World Exposition 2.2” will take place in September 2017.

Valencia Tong

1639

Related Topics: Chinese artists, Hong Kong artists, touring exhibitionsart and the Internet, technology, video, installation, new media, events in Hong Kong

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